Brood II of the 17-year genus Magicicada cicadas is due to emerge this spring. This is an East Coast brood. Depending on the temperature, this could happen anywhere from mid April to May, but with our warmer and warmer springs the breakout will probably begin on the earlier side. They will last into June. These cicadas have spent the last 17 years, yes, 17 long years, underground, feasting on the juices of tree roots. They are now ready to emerge, shuck their nymphal husks, unfurl their wings, and rock. And they should be doing it en masse, I mean, carpeting the ground, swarming on trees, piling up in the gutters, driving some hominids absolutely crazy with their numbers and their noise.
But I can’t wait.
Staten Island is the best place to see and hear and try not to crunch on this spectacle in the city. In anticipation, the Staten Island Museum has just opened a periodical cicada exhibit. The Museum is reputed to have the world’s largest collection of cicada specimens. Some broods, as the generational cohorts are called, have been arriving years earlier than expected; the reason seems to be milder and milder winters. But Brood II is on course.
You’ve seen a lot of cicadas (and their killers) on this blog, but they have all been the annual, dog-day species. Theses spend several years underground as well, but with generations each year, examples of them emerge each year in late summer. I have never seen the red-eyed, orange winged 17-year Magicicadas. Field trips will be in order.